Unfortunately, the new coronavirus is headline news these days. The outbreak of the infection, also known as COVID-19, is impacting people all over the world. As of this writing, there are 130 known cases in the United States, spanning across 13 states. Sadly, nine Americans have already lost their lives due to illnesses caused by the virus. All of them were in the state of Washington.

This week, the Allegiant Experts team feels that it is necessary to pass along some very important information in an effort to help everyone protect themselves against the spread of infection. While the outbreak of COVID-19 is mostly impacting the people of China, the World Health Organization (WHO) has offered some helpful safety tips and practices to assist everyone across the globe with staying illness-free.

Wash your hands frequently.

Preventing the spread of coronavirus is much like preventing the spread of the flu. Although the two conditions are different, they produce similar symptoms and have similar ways of being transmitted from one person to another. As a result, proper hand washing is imperative.

“Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water,” instructs WHO, “Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.”

Stay home if you’re sick.

WHO advises people to be socially-conscious. If you are feeling ill, it’s best to stay home from work and refrain from interacting with other people. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, you should seek medical attention quickly. And no matter how you’re feeling, it’s best to keep your distance from others when they are coughing or sneezing. WHO recommends staying at least three feet away.

“When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus,” they explain, “If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.”

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Especially when your hands have not recently been washed, it’s best to keep them away from your face. It’s an old rule that was enforced on us as children. It’s time to bring it back. As WHO informs us, “hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.”

Speaking of your nose and mouth, it’s so important to keep them covered whenever you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue to cough or sneeze into and discard it right away. If you don’t have one handy, be sure to use your bent inner-elbow. Coughing or sneezing into your sleeve prevents droplets from becoming airborne.

“Droplets spread virus,” WHO notes, “By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.”

At Allegiant Experts, we join everyone in saying that we sincerely hope that the spread of COVID-19 comes to a close soon and that no more lives are lost. It’s certainly a trying time, at the moment. Our best wishes go out to everyone who may be affected by this illness.